In a few words, describe what your party’s platform stands for.
Claire Card, New Democratic Party candidate: “Meaningful climate action … making life more affordable for the average ordinary person … [and] lastly, we need to structure the way we take income into the government. The studies show the ultra-rich Canadians are benefiting the most.”
Susan Hayton, Liberal Party of Canada candidate: “The thing that really makes me feel that it’s important for people to vote Liberal this time is the environmental policy. The Liberal party is the first federal government in Canada that has made a real push towards trying to advance us in terms of fighting climate change, and if the Conservatives come in, they will reverse much of that.”
Jan Norris, Green Party of Canada candidate: “We are known as the environmental party, but the Green movement is formed on four principles: ecology, equality, democracy and non-violence. Those things are very important to me and are the basis for all our policies. We have a strong platform for social justice and equality.”
Guto Penteado, People’s Party of Canada candidate: “I used to be a Conservative Party supporter but last year, the Conservatives moved to the center. The only party who represents my values and aligns with my principles is the People’s Party of Canada. I love Canada, since I arrived here 17 years ago as a Brazilian immigrant, and I think we are going in the wrong direction. I think it’s time for Canadians and for Canada to stop spending money abroad helping other countries and forgetting about us here.”
Corey Tochor, Conservative Party of Canada candidate: “The platform was built on the premise that we need to help Canadians, and it is time for them to get ahead. Our platform is geared specifically to make life more affordable for seniors, families, students and Canadians coast to coast. If you look at our platform items, they are all to do with affordability and also with getting ourselves back to balance.”
What sets your party apart?
Card: “Our slogan is we are ‘In it for you’ and we take that seriously. We are not in it to make corporations wealthier or to make billionaires richer. We are in it for a more equal, fair society. We take a different, refreshing approach by working in a way that benefits your ordinary person.”
Hayton: “I think it’s clear that the NDP and Green are not going to form government, so if you don’t vote Liberal I think that you’re allowing the Conservative party to come in.”
“I like the philosophy of NDP and Green that we need to transition to alternate methods of energy production, but I think that their perspectives are not realistic. I think we’re going to need significant investment. We have oil, that is a big product that Canada exports that can help fund that, and we are going to continue to need oil and gas for a while at least as we do that transition.”
Norris: “Our targets for cutting down greenhouse gas emissions are twice as tough as the others and we are not indebted to any special interest groups. Our support comes from individuals who really care about the environment, period. If we get into office, that’s what our mandate is, and our commitment is to a fair and just transition [through] investing. This economy is unsustainable and we can’t keep growing forever based on fossil fuels — it’s not going to work. We need to transition.”
Penteado: “We are the only party that is for Canada and Canadians first. All other parties have commitments to the United Nations about climate change and immigration, and we are not going to be committed to that.”
“We are pulling out of the Paris accords — and the other parties are not doing that — because we don’t believe in that. We believe in climate change, just not that it’s made by men.”
Tochor: “We are talking about affordability and making life more affordable for Canadians. We are the only party that is talking about getting the budget back to balance. Budgets don’t balance themselves, and if we can do that over a timespan of five years, we are not going to see the dramatic cuts that other governments have to make when they go for a decade of overspending.”
Why should students be invested in this election and in your party?
Card: “I find students are very progressive thinkers. And compared to the Conservatives, the students have values that far more closely align with the NDP. Students are not against LGBTQ+ and students are not afraid of people who look different than they do. Students are concerned about climate action and debt and their future.”
Hayton: “I think you should care because we live in a country where you have the right to vote. I think most people including many students want to see a push towards cleaner world because you’re much younger than me, you’re going to live a lot longer. I think the Liberal party is moving in the right direction [and] should be given another four years to try and flesh out some of those things.”
Norris: “I believe we are at a tipping point in terms of climate, and if we don’t act now and we don’t act very deliberately and strongly, it’s going to be a very difficult job for your generation. We all know what the predictions are, and I started on this work back in the 1990’s and the predictions even then were very bad. I hope students take this seriously both in their personal lives, we need to cut down our consumption, and by voting.”
Penteado: “Everybody should care about politics because politics affects every part of your daily life. It doesn’t matter who you believe in or who you are voting for, the important thing is that you are voting for what you believe, for your principles, not because one party is like this or like that. Go to the parties’ websites and get informed and see what each party actually offers.”
Tochor: “We are at a crossroads in this country. I am very fearful of our country if the Conservatives don’t win on Monday. I believe the path that we are on currently with the Liberals is one of disunity for our country, and the next generation will feel the brunt.”
“I believe that how Justin Trudeau has targeted the natural resource sector in Western Canada has created feelings of abandonment, and if we carry on this path, I am fearful of what comes next for our country.”
The youth vote tends to go to the left and other candidates suggest that this is because of concerns around the Conservatives’ stance on social justice issues. What do you say to that?
Tochor: “It’s not true of the interactions I’ve had with students. The students I’ve talked to who attend U of S or the [Saskatchewan] Polytechnic, they are worried about the opportunities after they are done with schooling, and I believe we are going to be having very good results on Monday with students.
“The party was very clear that we will not be making any changes to abortion [rights] if we are elected.”
Some NDP, Green Party and Liberal supporters are concerned about splitting the vote, thus allowing a Conservative win. Why should these people vote for your party?
Card: “Conservatives in this area are typically elected with only 40 per cent of the vote. That means 60 per cent of the voters don’t want them. Nationally, it is a much tighter race between [the] Conservatives and Liberals, but that is not here. In this riding, you only elect your Member of Parliament, and in this riding it is the NDP versus the Conservatives. Conservatives get elected when the progressive voters split that 60 per cent between the NDP, the Greens and the Liberals. If we could pick up some votes from the Liberals and Green, we’ll go from second to first and we’ll win.”
Norris: “I have voted strategically in the past and I’ve always kind of regretted it because I didn’t want that person to get in. Whatever happens, a vote for the Green party sends a message because we are perceived as the environmental party. It sends a message that as a Canadian you care a lot about environmental issues and the climate.”
“All we can do is hope we get electoral reform; proportional representation is more democratic. Our government does not do that and it leads to issues, polarization being one of them. I hate this system and I can understand why students feel that way; it’s a problem. I hope that if we all vote our values eventually things are going to turn around and reflect our values. But we have a very flawed system and it needs to be reformed.”
What do you say to people who are concerned that a quick transition to a green economy is not realistic?
Card: “It’s not realistic if you have a government whose ear is completely listening to the corporate sector. If you have oil money flowing into your province and taking the ear of government and creating very special favour for them, then of course it’s going to be difficult because you need that money to stay where it is. But study after study has shown that there are more jobs in the green economy. We need to kick that door wide open. There’s no rationale when we are in the middle of a climate emergency that you would stop the development of green energy.”
Should students be concerned about the Conservative party’s outlook on climate action being regressive or not decisive enough?
Tochor: “I just don’t believe in the current Liberal government’s plan. Paying an extra tax does not get us to where we need to go, and technology solutions are out there to lower our use of fossil fuels. [We have] concrete plans to actually lower emissions rather than this theoretical discussion that if we pay an extra tax, we feel good about ourselves but there’s nothing for the environment.”
What would you say to people are not satisfied with the Liberal government’s progress and want to see a change?
Hayton: “I think it’s complicated as a government to change the things you want to change, and you can’t do it overnight. I believe the Liberal government has actually pushed forward in many of the things they promised they would do. I know people tend to say ‘Oh, they didn’t meet their promises,’ but that’s not the case when people have evaluated them. I think another four years is where we should go with the Liberal government and give them the opportunity to finish off the things they have planned.”
Ana Cristina Camacho/ News Editor
Photos supplied by parties interviewed